File photo: The new tender includes more than 123 TV channels, which could be offered individually or in the form of networks.

London - The era of high-speed broadband technology is making the smart television a must-have in the modern home.

But an expert warned on Monday that connecting TVs to the internet will inevitably bring an unwanted intruder into the house – the computer virus.

With more and more films being downloaded from the internet to the household television and ‘catch-up’ TV channels becoming increasingly popular, he believes infection from viruses is only a matter of time.

A cyber attack on smart TVs could cause pandemonium among viewers, particularly if it coincided with a World Cup penalty shootout, a primetime drama or the results of Strictly Come Dancing.

Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and chief executive of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab, the world’s fourth largest computer anti-virus group, said that mobile phones and then TVs are the next gadgets likely to be targeted by criminals spreading viruses worldwide.

He said his company – which receives 315 000 suspicious activity reports a day – has yet to discover a virus penetrating a television.

But he warned: “The threats will diversify to mobile phones and to the home environment, such as through televisions, which are now connected to the internet. There are millions of attacks a year on Microsoft Windows, thousands on mobile phones, mostly on Android, and dozens on Apple’s iOS.”

Mr Kaspersky said “all the systems are vulnerable’”and added: “Technically it is possible to infect millions of devices. It will happen. It’s just a question of time. What’s the difference between a TV and a computer? A bigger screen and a remote control.

“It has Android inside and memory chips and internet connections. That’s all.” Inevitably, the consumer will be forced to buy more virus protection software to tackle the threat of cyber invasion and the industry is gearing up to cash in.

At the start of last year, 13 percent of the British population owned a smart TV, which connects to the internet using integrated technology or a set top box.

But that figure is likely to have increased significantly since then with the rise of ‘catch-up’ TV.

Last May a survey found that 50 percent of British consumers liked the idea of accessing online content through televisions.

Around 100 million households in Western Europe and the US are predicted to have at least one internet-linked TV by 2016. - Daily Mail